Match Preview: Watford vs Arsenal

FA Cup finalists Watford host Arsenal to the Vicarage Road in the 34th Premier League matchday on Monday night.

Watford pulled an amazing come back in the FA Cup semi-final against Wolverhampton at Wembley last Sunday.

Gerard Deulofeu inspired the Hornets, as he came on in the 66th minute to help them overturn a two-goal deficit and book their first FA Cup final since 1984.

Arsenal lost 1-0 to Everton in the previous round of the Premier League but got back on the winning ways as they beat Napoli by two goals to nil, in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie on Thursday.

Team news

Watford boss Javi Gracia will miss Jose Holebas, Domingos Quina and Tom Cleverley through injuries.

FA Cup star Gerard Deulofeu is carrying a slight knock that will have to be monitored, but the Spaniard is expected to be in the squad for the game against Arsenal on Monday night.

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Greek defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos is out for the Gunners due to yellow cards suspension, but Emery welcomes back Lucas Torreira from a three-match domestic ban.

Arsenal will be hopeful Granit Xhaka is fit enough to be involved, although long-term injury absentees Danny Welbeck, Rob Holding, and Hector Bellerin remain sidelined.

What did the managers say

Javi Gracia was full of praise of his former teammate Unai Emery ahead of their encounter in the Premier League on Monday night.

“We played together at Real Sociedad many years ago and from that moment we have had a good relationship,” said Gracia via Watford’s official website. “When we played together we didn’t know we’d be in this situation [playing against each other in the Premier League].

Aubameyang explains why he became a footballer

The Arsenal footballer says he admires his father the most when he was growing up, so he wanted to play the game he loved the most.

“We’ve had dinner together twice [since I’ve been in England] and he’s a good friend. It’s good to see him again. We are very close but our teams and tastes are different. Unai is one of the best coaches in the world – not only in England.”

Arsenal head coach believes his friend Javi Gracia and his Watford side are having a great campaign in 2018-19.

“I know Javi Gracia and above all his teams are very organized with a big commitment to helping each other,” he said via club’s official website.

“They are very difficult teams to battle because defensively they are very strong and this is now at Watford. They are a very organized team, with a big capacity offensively because they create a good movement and a good idea, a good style to take that.

“They are going to demand a lot from us on Monday but it is a good match and I appreciate it a lot, and I want to play matches against Javi Gracia and Watford because I think they are doing a big season.”

Stats

Watford have lost four of their previous five home games against Arsenal in the Premier League.

Arsenal are yet to register a clean sheet in the Premier League away from home this season.

None of the 11 previous Premier League meetings between these clubs have ended in a draw – Arsenal won nine games and suffered two defeats against the Hornets.

Watford’s players do not enjoy playing on Monday. They have only won two of their 15 Premier League games when playing on the first day of the week.

Arsenal, on the other side, have won seven of their last eight Premier League games on a Monday. They’ve suffered their only defeat against Crystal Palace two years ago.

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